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The Centenarians

 I asked of ancient gaffers three
 The way of their ripe living,
And this is what they told to me
 Without Misgiving.
The First: 'The why I've lived so long, To my fond recollection Is that for women, wine and song I've had a predilection.
Full many a bawdy stave I've sung With wenches of my choosing, But of the joys that kept me young The best was boozing.
' The Second: 'I'm a sage revered Because I was a fool And with the bourgeon of my beard I kept my ardour cool.
On health I have conserved my hold By never dissipating: And that is why a hundred old I'm celebrating.
' The Third: 'The explanation I Have been so long a-olding, Is that to wash I never try, Despite conjugal scolding.
I hate the sight of soap and so I seldom change my shirt: Believe me, Brother, there is no Preservative like dirt.
' So there you have the reasons three Why age may you rejoice: Booze, squalour and temerity,-- Well, you may take your choice.
Yet let me say, although it may Your egoism hurt, Of all the three it seems to me The best is DIRT.

Poem by Robert William Service
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